While walking around the grocery store or shopping mall, you can probably notice a ton of different types of masks. Some are fun and colourful, others are plain, some look oddly shaped, and so on. Now, there are different reasons for this variety, and we want to explain the difference between two of the most common face masks you are probably seeing right now.
The N95 face mask vs. surgical face coverings.
There has been a lot of different research to see whether or not masks are actually beneficial in slowing the spread of viruses like COVID-19. Although there are some differing statistics once you get into the details of protection, the one thing that we can say for sure is that face coverings do, in fact, help stop the spread of airborne pathogens. But, do some kinds help more than others?
The short answer: maybe?
The most common face covering you are probably seeing right now is what’s called a surgical face mask. These are usually blue in colour and make you look like a medical professional (you might recognise them from TV shows or movies about individuals in the medical field). Surgical face masks are easy and cheap to buy, disposable, and are FDA registered. The key features of a surgical mask include an outer hydrophobic layer that rejects and repels liquids and moisture, a “melt-blown” quality which means that the microscopic holes in the material will not let any particles through above a certain miniscule size, they are designed to be one-use and are comfortable to wear, and they have a variety of levels of effectiveness.
Surgical masks are your standard choice for safety when it comes to face coverings. They get the job done and they allow you to still breathe rather comfortably.
Now, on the other hand, we also have the N95 face coverings.
If you can remember, these masks were in extremely short supply when COVID-19 first began. While these are technically the “recommended” antibacterial masks by healthcare professionals, there are several things to take note of when deciding between these and the regular surgical masks. The number 95 signifies the percentage of a certain particle that is blocked by the filters of the mask. Keep in mind that this means breathing capability will be more strained with an N95 mask than with a surgical one. These masks may not be the best choice for children or eldery individuals who have a hard time breathing. Additionally, N95 masks are extremely uncomfortable because they fit very tightly around your face and ears.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you are making the decision to wear a mask when you are in public places. There really is no “best answer” when it comes to face coverings because different people feel comfortable in different options. N95 masks may be a bit more protective, but they should also be preserved for healthcare professionals and individuals who need protection the most right now. And, on top of that, you should try your best to follow social distance guidelines as well as any other public health regulations in your area. No matter if you are wearing an N95 mask, a surgical face covering, or just a regular cloth mask, you are helping slow the spread of COVID-19.
If you are in the market for a new face covering and would like to support an Australian business, we would love for you to visit our website at https://www.topmask.com.au! We offer a wide range of face masks that are protective, durable, lasting, and extremely comfortable.